Cook: Hopefully we got Powell off in nick of time

Nick Powell
Nick Powell

Paul Cook is keeping his fingers crossed a recurrence of Nick Powell’s injury problems hasn’t take the shine off the season-opening victory at MK Dons.

Powell scored the only goal seven minutes before half-time in Buckinghamshire to ensure Latics got off to a winning start.

He then made way for Terell Thomas at the break, in an apparent reshuffle following left-back Callum Elder’s sending-off on the stroke of half-time.

But the Latics boss has admitted it was more to do with an injury concern than tactical.

“Nick was feeling a little bit stiff at the end of the first half,” Cook told the Wigan Post.

“As a rule, even when we’ve got 10 men, we don’t like to give up the ball.

“We’d love to have carried on with two men up front...we just say to the lads: ‘let’s have 10 minutes and have a look at it’.

“But the minute Powelly feels those things, he must come off.

“I can’t be risking Nick Powell - you saw his finish today, the minute the lad’s in on goal, you expect him to score.

“I won’t be risking him at all.”

Wigan’s strength in depth was shown in the second half with Will Grigg and Ryan Colclough also coming off the bench, and David Perkins and Alex Gilbey not even getting on.

“We’ve just got that many good players,” Cook acknowledged.

“Like I’m always saying, it is difficult to manage a club with so many good players.

“I can’t physically keep everyone happy - we had Will Grigg coming off the bench, and David Perkins who couldn’t even get on the pitch.

“We’ve got an abundance of good players, and it’s important we manage them all properly.”

Not that Cook is in any danger of getting carried away with the three points first

up.

“It’s a long season, and you’ve just to keep going,” he added.

“It was the same at Portsmouth last year - you’re up and down, and at the end of the season everybody finishes where they deserve.

“We’ve got a leg-up now and we move on.”